Task-related changes in degree centrality and local coherence of the posterior cingulate cortex after major cardiac surgery in older adults.
OBJECTIVES: Older adults often display postoperative cognitive decline (POCD) after surgery, yet it is unclear to what extent functional connectivity (FC) alterations may underlie these deficits. We examined for postoperative voxel-wise FC changes in response to increased working memory load demands in cardiac surgery patients and nonsurgical controls. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Older cardiac surgery patients (n = 25) completed a verbal N-back working memory task during MRI scanning and cognitive testing before and 6 weeks after surgery; nonsurgical controls with cardiac disease (n = 26) underwent these assessments at identical time intervals. We measured postoperative changes in degree centrality, the number of edges attached to a brain node, and local coherence, the temporal homogeneity of regional functional correlations, using voxel-wise graph theory-based FC metrics. Group × time differences were evaluated in these FC metrics associated with increased N-back working memory load (2-back > 1-back), using a two-stage partitioned variance, mixed ANCOVA. PRINCIPAL OBSERVATIONS: Cardiac surgery patients demonstrated postoperative working memory load-related degree centrality increases in the left dorsal posterior cingulate cortex (dPCC; p < .001, cluster p-FWE < .05). The dPCC also showed a postoperative increase in working memory load-associated local coherence (p < .001, cluster p-FWE < .05). dPCC degree centrality and local coherence increases were inversely associated with global cognitive change in surgery patients (p < .01), but not in controls. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac surgery patients showed postoperative increases in working memory load-associated degree centrality and local coherence of the dPCC that were inversely associated with postoperative global cognitive outcomes and independent of perioperative cerebrovascular damage.
Browndyke, JN; Berger, M; Smith, PJ; Harshbarger, TB; Monge, ZA; Panchal, V; Bisanar, TL; Glower, DD; Alexander, JH; Cabeza, R; Welsh-Bohmer, K; Newman, MF; Mathew, JP; Duke Neurologic Outcomes Research Group (NORG),
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